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27 Healthy College Dinner Ideas

Eating healthy while you’re in college can be a challenge. These recipes will give you a chance to cook something both delicious and nutritious!
healthy college dinners

Are you trying to eat healthy at college? Then you know that having a healthy dinner can be incredibly difficult.

You start the morning off right with a bowl of oatmeal or cereal. Then you have salad or a wrap for lunch.

But come dinner time, you’re tired. That’s because you’ve been hitting the books.

You may even be working a part-time job too. It’s no wonder you want to pick up McDonald’s for dinner.

But even though you’re far from home, you can still hear your mama’s voice. And deep down, you know you should have a healthy dinner too.

That’s why I’m sharing 27 Healthy College Dinner Ideas. Not only are they good for you, but they’re also delicious too.

Let’s get cooking!

1.Cheesy Garlic Broccoli

Credit: allnutritious.com

When it comes to healthy eating, you can’t get much more nutritious than broccoli. Broccoli contains the antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin.

These antioxidants may prevent cellular damage to your eyes. And eating broccoli may be good for your heart and brain.

It may also boost your immune system. Yay!

But let’s face it: broccoli doesn’t have that yumminess factor. So, it’s tempting to want to skip eating it altogether…sorry, mom!

My Cheesy Garlic Broccoli makes eating broccoli so much yummier. You’re topping the broccoli with cheddar cheese, minced garlic, salt, and pepper.

Then you’re baking it in the oven.

What comes out is an ooey-gooey mass of melted cheesy goodness. And the broccoli doesn’t taste bad either.

That’s because baking causes caramelization. So, your broccoli magically transforms from bitter to sweet.

Per Serving:

  • Calories: 363
  • Fat: 20g
  • Protein: 24g
  • Carbs: 28g
  • Fiber: 10g
  • Sugar: 6.7g

Recipe

2. Baked Pesto Salmon

Baked Pesto Salmon

Credit: garlicandzest.com

During your time on campus, you’re going to meet tons of people. Who knows, you may even find a romantic partner.

And you’ll probably be doing a lot to impress them. What better way to impress them than making them a romantic dinner?

This Baked Pesto Salmon is as easy as they come. Top your salmon with pesto, breadcrumbs, and parmesan cheese.

Then let your oven be the cook.

What you get is baked salmon that looks and tastes fantastic. Your date will be so impressed.

Want to make dinner even more special? Serve your salmon on beautiful dinner platters.

These dinner platters are fancy yet exceptionally durable.

Per Serving:

  • Calories: 449g
  • Fats: 11g
  • Protein: 5g
  • Carbs: 8g
  • Fiber:
  • Sugar: 1g

Recipe

3. Mushroom Stroganoff

Mushroom Stroganoff

Credit: thekitchengirl.com

Are you stumped for dinner ideas? One way to solve that is to have theme nights.

For instance, on Mondays, you could have meatless dishes. Tuesdays could be reserved for tacos.

And say, Friday could be pizza night. That way, you’re not wondering what’s for dinner.

This Mushroom Stroganoff is perfect for Meatless Mondays. Egg noodles are tossed in a savory cream sauce with mushrooms.

The mushrooms give you that meaty texture and yummy umami flavor. So, you don’t even miss the meat.

What’s even better? You’re only using one pot.

So, you have less to wash after dinner. Yay!


Per Serving:

  • Calories: 233
  • Fats: 10g
  • Protein: 7g
  • Carbs: 28g
  • Fiber: 2g
  • Sugar: 3g

Recipe

4. Honey Chicken Wings

Honey Chicken Wings

Credit: allnutritious.com

Want the bar experience without the bar price? Try my Honey Chicken wings.

They’re crispy, flavorful, and, best of all, sticky. Don’t be surprised if you’re licking your fingers – just saying.

And they have the perfect balance of sweet and savory. That’s because you’re tossing your wings in honey and Italian seasoning.

Yum!

Per Serving:

  • Calories: 527
  • Fats: 37g
  • Protein: 26g
  • Carbs: 23g
  • Fiber: 2g
  • Sugar: 6.2g

Recipe

5. Slow Cooker Cauliflower-Cheese Soup

Slow Cooker Cauliflower-Cheese Soup

Credit: cookingwithmammac.com

Snowy days can make getting to classes so much harder. It’s no wonder you want to skip your classes.

But you know that you want to get good grades. So you head to class anyway.

Wouldn’t it be nice to have some soup to come home to? This Slow Cooker Cauliflower Cheese Soup makes that possible.

Just start your soup in the slow cooker. Then you come home to yummy aromas and flavors.

Just use an immersion blender like this to make the soup creamy. Don’t try blending your soup in a blender, as it might explode.

Finally, add some cream and cheddar cheese for even more creaminess.

Now this soup will take 6 hours to cook in a slow cooker. However, you may be away from your apartment longer than that.

If so, you should use a programmable slow cooker such as this one here. That way, you can set your timer to go off after 6 hours.

After that, the slow cooker will go to warm mode. That way, your soup is nice and warm when you come back.

Per Serving:

  • Calories: 359
  • Fats: 25g
  • Protein: 20g
  • Carbs: 15g
  • Fiber: 3g
  • Sugar:

Recipe

6. Cabbage Soup

Cabbage Soup

Credit: sustainmycookinghabit.com

Need some more soup to keep you warm? Don’t worry – I’ve got you covered.

This soup is delicious and so good for you. That’s because it’s packed with cabbage, onions, carrots, and potatoes.

So, you’re getting plenty of Vitamins A and C – perfect for keeping the doctor away.

But don’t worry, there’s meat too. So, it’s perfect for meat-lovers too.

Now the choice of meat is up to you. You can use pork, beef, or chicken – whatever suits your fancy.

This soup is satisfying just the way it is. But if you like, you can serve with some crusty bread.

Per Serving:

  • Calories: 353
  • Fats: 28g
  • Protein: 15g
  • Carbs: 12g
  • Fiber: 3g
  • Sugar: 4g

Recipe

7. Brussel Sprouts with Bacon

Brussel Sprouts with Bacon

Credit: allnutritious.com

Talking about veggies: Did your mom make you eat your Brussels Sprouts as a kid? Then there’s a good chance you’ve sworn off them.

But could I convince you to give them another try? I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised.

My Brussel Sprouts with Bacon are packed with flavor – and not the wrong kind of flavors.

First of all, you’ll be sauteeing your Brussels Sprouts in bacon grease. This adds a yummy savory flavor to the Brussels Sprouts.

Second of all, you’ll be tossing your Brussels Sprouts in a date syrup mixture. This adds a pleasant caramel flavor to your Brussels Sprouts.

And last but not least, you’re adding bacon. Doesn’t bacon make everything taste that much better?

Check out more healthy summer recipes here.

Per Serving:

  • Calories: 251
  • Fats: 18g
  • Protein: 7.6g
  • Carbs: 17g
  • Fiber: 5g
  • Sugar: 8.6g

Recipe

8. Vegan White Bean and Kale Soup

Vegan White Bean and Kale Soup

Credit: thekitchengirl.com

One way to make dinner time easy is to meal prep. By prepping your meals ahead of time, you save time and money.

That’s because you’re not stuck cooking dinner every…single…day. And when your dinners are prepped, you can resist the temptation of takeout. Yay!

This soup is colorful, yummy, and satisfying. Just looking at it will make you happy.

It’s budget-friendly too. That’s because you’re using cannellini beans as your protein.

Just one cup of cannellini beans provides 15.4 grams of protein. Cannellini beans are also rich in fiber.

So, they’re good for your gut. And they’re an excellent source of iron.

What you’ll love about this soup is that it makes 10 servings. So, you have dinner covered for quite a long time.

Don’t want to have this soup every day? That’s okay.

Just store your soup in freezer-safe food storage containers. I prefer glass ones like this because of the eco-friendliness.

On the other hand, BPA-free plastic containers are another excellent option.

Per Serving:

  • Calories: 363
  • Fats: 4.3g
  • Protein: 23.9g
  • Carbs: 60.2g
  • Fiber: 23.2g
  • Sugar: 5.5g

Recipe

9. Chicken with Green Beans and Sugar Snap Pea Amandine

Chicken with Green Beans and Sugar Snap Pea Amandine

Credit: chocolatesandchai.com

Time for some Chicken with Green Beans and Sugar Snap Pea Amandine. Now that’s a mouthful.

What exactly is an Amandine, you ask? Well, it’s a French cooking term for a dish that is garnished or prepared with almonds.

This dish looks fancy – and it tastes fancy too. Your mom would never guess that you made it.

The chicken is juicy and flavorful. That’s because you’re sauteing it in 9 different spices.

So, be sure to pull out your measuring spoons. These ones here are so durable – they’ll last you way beyond your college years.

Once you’re done sauteing your chicken, add some cherry tomatoes. And cook until they burst.

While you’re doing that, toast your almonds in a dry pan. Remove them once they become fragrant and lightly browned.

Finally, saute your veggies. After all, we got to have some veggies, right?

Per Serving:

  • Calories: 713
  • Fats: 25.5g
  • Protein: 94.8g
  • Carbs: 24.6g
  • Fiber:
  • Sugar: 6.7g

Recipe

10. Mexican Lentil Soup

Mexican Lentil Soup

Credit: thebellyrulesthemind.net

Chicken is delicious and all. But sometimes, you need a little break from it.

This Mexican Lentil Soup provides a welcome change.

It’s creamy, tasty, and really satisfying. You won’t be reaching for a burger after.

What’s more: it tastes like it’s been simmering all day. But it hasn’t.

In fact, it takes all of 15 minutes to make. So, it’s healthy food – fast.

The reason for this magic, you ask? Why it’s the fact that you’re using an Instant Pot.

Instant Pots are great for cooking food fast. So, they can come in quite handy when you need to cook food in a pinch.

Don’t have an Instant Pot on hand? You can get one at a great price here.

Per Serving:

  • Calories: 97
  • Fats: 1g
  • Protein: 6g
  • Carbs: 9g
  • Fiber: 9g
  • Sugar: 3g

Recipe

11. Spinach Tomato Salad with Feta Cheese

Spinach Tomato Salad with Feta Cheese

Credit: allnutritious.com

Did you know that only 6% of college students eat enough fruits and veggies? That’s a pretty alarming statistic, right?

So how can you up your veggie intake? Have some salad for dinner.

My Spinach Tomato Salad will have you piling on the greens – happily.

It’s vibrant, refreshing, and best of all tastes amazing. The creamy feat cheese pairs nicely with the acidity of the dressing.

And the grape tomatoes, cucumbers, and spinach add tons of color and nutrition. Meanwhile, the pumpkin seeds add a pleasant crunch.

Healthy eating doesn’t get much yummier or more straightforward than this.

Check out more macro-friendly recipes.

Per Serving:

  • Calories: 315
  • Fats: 27g
  • Protein: 5.8g
  • Carbs: 10.3g
  • Fiber: 2.7g
  • Sugar: 7.9g

Recipe

12. Instant Pot Fried Rice

Instant Pot Fried Rice

Credit: therecipewell.com

Are you craving Chinese takeout? Have this Instant Pot Fried Rice instead.

The texture of the fried rice is surprisingly spot-on. And it’s full of yummy flavors, from rice, eggs, chicken, carrots, and peas.

So it tastes just as good as takeout – but is healthier too.

To prevent the rice from being sticky, make sure you rinse your rice very well. You’ll want to rinse your rice until the water is clear, even when you swirl it.

Also, use good quality jasmine rice. If you use generic long-grain rice, your rice will turn out mushy.

Besides being yummy, this rice is nutritious too. It has a ton of Vitamin A which boosts your immune system.

And it even contains potassium which is vital for healthy blood pressure.

Per Serving:

  • Calories: 489
  • Fats: 9g
  • Protein: 35g
  • Carbs: 64g
  • Fiber: 3g
  • Sugar: 3g

Recipe

13. Mushroom Stew

Mushroom Stew

Credit: nourishplate.com

Sometimes, despite your best efforts, you don’t ace your exams. You were hoping for an A, but you end up getting a C.

At times like this, you want to binge on some Ben and Jerry’s. And though it tastes incredible, it’s not that great for you.

This Mushroom Stew is so comforting. Yet, it’s pretty light.

That’s because you’re not adding meat to the stew. Instead, you’re just adding mushrooms.

The mushrooms add lots of meaty textures and umami flavor. They also add lots of nutrition.

Mushrooms contain tons of brain-boosting B vitamins. They are also rich in selenium, a very strong antioxidant.

Mushrooms are even good for your heart. That’s because they contain beta-glucans that are important for heart health.

Per Serving:

  • Calories: 114
  • Fats: 4g
  • Protein: 6g
  • Carbs: 16g
  • Fiber: 4g
  • Sugar: 8g

Recipe

14. Shepherds Pie

Shepherds Pie

Credit: whatagirleats.com

Looking for some more comfort food? You can’t go wrong with this Shepherd’s pie.

It’s creamy, cheesy, tasty, and super comforting – precisely what the doctor, ahem, therapist ordered.

And it’s really filling. That’s because it’s packed with protein.

So, you’re definitely not going to be reaching for cookies later.

To make this dish, you will be using ground beef. However, beef has quite a large carbon footprint.

So you may want to make this Shepherd’s Pie occasionally. Or you can use ground turkey instead.

Per Serving:

  • Calories: 466
  • Fats: 31g
  • Protein: 29g
  • Carbs: 18g
  • Fiber: 4g
  • Sugar: 2g

Recipe

15. Mexican Bean Salad

Mexican Bean Salad

Credit: allnutritious.com

Are you tired of leafy salads? My Mexican Bean Salad provides a welcome change.

It’s refreshing and has a nice balance of acidity and sweetness. And the jalapeno peppers add some kick – perfect if you like all things spicy.

And there’s not a hint of lettuce – Zilch!

To let the flavors pop, it’s best to let your salad marinate for 2 hours. If you can, let it marinate overnight.

This salad is excellent just the way it is. But if you like, you can add these tortilla strips.

Per Serving:

  • Calories: 287
  • Fats: 10g
  • Protein: 12g
  • Carbs: 26g
  • Fiber: 13g
  • Sugar: 4.7g

Recipe

16. Lentil Dahl

Lentil Dahl

Credit: nourishplate.com

Are you piling on the Freshman-15? Then lose those pesky pounds with this Lentil Dahl.

One serving provides only 107 calories. So, you can eat one, two, or even three bowls and still be on plan.

But even though this Dahl is low in calories, it’s not lacking in taste. It’s creamy, fragrant, and so yummy.

To keep it light, you can serve it with some cauliflower rice. One cup of cauliflower rice contains only 25 calories.

It’s as low in carbs – perfect if you’re on a low-carb diet. Cauliflower rice is also very nutritious.

One serving provides almost 60% of your daily Vitamin C needs. And it contains B vitamins too.

Want to keep things easy? You can simply use some of this pre-packaged rice.

Or if you prefer to save some money, you can make your own. Start by chopping up some cauliflower.

Then add the cauliflower to a food processor. And process until the cauliflower becomes like rice.

This food processor has a large capacity. So, you can make your cauliflower rice in one go.

Per Serving:

  • Calories: 107
  • Fats: 7g
  • Protein: 26g
  • Carbs: 10g
  • Fiber: 3g
  • Sugar: 3g

Recipe

17. Instant Pot Chicken Piccata

Instant Pot Chicken Piccata

Credit: flavormosaic.com

You meet so many people on campus. And eventually, you’ll want to invite them over for dinner.

But what’s a dinner party without good food? And we’re talking a homecooked meal, not takeout.

That’s where this Instant Pot Chicken Piccata comes in. Tender, juicy chicken breasts are covered in a buttery, creamy garlic lemon sauce.

It’s so fancy – your dinner guests will be pretty impressed.

Per Serving:

  • Calories: 422
  • Fats: 24g
  • Protein: 40g
  • Carbs: 8g
  • Fiber: 1g
  • Sugar: 1g

Recipe

18. Herb Crusted Salmon

Herb Crusted Salmon

Credit: allnutritious.com

Do your guests prefer seafood? Serve them this Herb Crusted Salmon instead.

Succulent, flaky salmon is topped with fresh herbs. And it’s served with oven-burst cherry tomatoes drizzled with balsamic vinegar.

Besides being yummy, salmon is pretty nutritious. It is full of heart-healthy omega-3s.

It also contains several B vitamins, which are essential for brain health. And it is rich in selenium, a potent antioxidant.

Health benefits aside, you’ll love how easy this dish comes together. All you need is ten minutes to prep this meal.

Then pop in the oven to bake.

Per Serving:

  • Calories: 333
  • Fats: 20g
  • Protein: 27g
  • Carbs: 8.3g
  • Fiber: 2.7g
  • Sugar: 6.2g

Recipe

19. Chicken Fajitas

Chicken Fajitas

Credit: flavormosaic.com

Can’t be bothered to scrub a ton of pots and pans? These Chicken Fajitas are perfect for you.

That’s because you need only one skillet to make them. So, you spend less time scrubbing pans – and more time catching up on your favorite show.

But most importantly, they taste delicious. That’s because you’re marinating the chicken in a homemade marinade.

What you get is chicken that is packed with Tex-Mex flavors. And the sear on the chicken is perfection.

To make these Chicken Fajitas, you’ll need an oven-safe skillet. That’s because you’re sauteing the chicken on the stove first.

Then you’re transferring it to the oven to bake.

For best results, I recommend using a cast-iron skillet like this. Not only is it oven-safe, but it also distributes heat quite evenly.

And it gives the perfect sear.


Per Serving:

  • Calories: 529
  • Fats: 33g
  • Protein: 40g
  • Carbs: 19g
  • Fiber: 2g
  • Sugar: 12g

Recipe

20. Kale Salad

Kale Salad

Credit: joyfoodsunshine.com

Food overs you a chance to bond with new people. And potlucks are the ultimate foodie experience.

Main courses and desserts tend to be favorites. But salads? Not so much.

After all, there’s so much yummy food around – who wants to eat a salad?

This kale salad is sure to be a crowd-pleasure. It’s full of delightful textures and flavors.

You’ve got the sweetness from the carrots and red bell peppers. And you’ve got the bitterness of the kale.

Meanwhile, you’ve got the creaminess of the cheddar cheese. This complements the crunchiness of the roasted pecans.

And the salad is tossed with a sweet and tangy salad dressing. Yum!

Per Serving:

  • Calories: 135
  • Fats: 11g
  • Protein: 2g
  • Carbs: 10g
  • Fiber: 2g
  • Sugar: 6g

Recipe

21. Mango Avocado Salad

Mango Avocado Salad

Credit: allnutritious.com

Spring break is an excellent time to vacation on a hot tropical island. But sometimes, you just can’t swing it.

My Mango Avocado Salad is the next best thing. It’s refreshing, fruity, and has tons of tropical flavors.

The onions and cucumbers add a pleasant crunch. Meanwhile, the avocados add creaminess – it’s a party in your mouth.

Besides being yummy, mangos are good for you too. They contain immune-boosting vitamins like Vitamins A and C.

They even contain magnesium which is good for your bones. Yay!

Per Serving:

  • Calories: 312
  • Fats: 20g
  • Protein: 5.2g
  • Carbs: 22g
  • Fiber: 13g
  • Sugar: 18g

Recipe

22. Chickpea Spinach Curry

Chickpea Spinach Curry

Credit: therecipewell.com

Talking about swinging things, college can get pretty expensive. You’ve got books, tuition, and rent to pay for.

Before you know it, there’s barely enough money for groceries. So, you resign yourself to Ramen noodles.

But healthy eating can be pretty cheap. And this Chickpea Spinach Curry proves just that.

It’s creamy and savory. And the aromatic spices add a warm heat.

Meanwhile, the baby spinach freshens the curry up. But best of all, this curry is satisfying.

Canned chickpeas provide a pretty affordable source of protein. They also contain fiber.

And they even contain manganese which is great for your bones. So, chow on those chickpeas.

Per Serving:

  • Calories: 471
  • Fats: 31g
  • Protein: 15g
  • Carbs: 40g
  • Fiber: 12g
  • Sugar: 3g

Recipe

23. Vegan Tortilla Soup

Vegan Tortilla Soup

Credit: veganhuggs.com

Are you craving Mexican food? This Vegan Tortilla Soup will definitely satisfy your cravings.

It has a ton of Mexican Flava. You’ve got spicy jalapenos and tangy fire-roasted tomatoes.

And we can’t forget about the warm aromatic spices. The corn and black beans make it so filling – even meat lovers will love it.

But the icing on top of the cake, ahem, soup, is the tortilla strips. They add a delightful crunchiness.

So, make sure you make some. If you can’t, you can use these premade tortilla strips here.

Per Serving:

  • Calories: 197
  • Fats: 8g
  • Protein: 8g
  • Carbs: 29g
  • Fiber: 3g
  • Sugar: 6g

Recipe

24. Tofu Veggie Stir Fry

Tofu Veggie Stir Fry

Credit: veganhuggs.com

Ready for some more vegan eats? This Tofu Veggie Stir Fry is also a keeper.

Crispy tofu is tossed with saucy noodles and veggies. Then it’s all topped with sesame seeds.

It’s the perfect balance of umami, savory, sweet, and spicy. Broccoli and red bell peppers add color and freshness.

To get your tofu crispy, make sure you press out the moisture first. You can do this by wrapping the tofu in a clean kitchen cloth.

Then put a heavy object like a book on top. To make pressing even easier, you can just use a tofu press.

This tofu press makes pressing your tofu mess-free.

Per Serving:

  • Calories: 342g
  • Fats: 12g
  • Protein: 3g
  • Carbs: 51g
  • Fiber: 1g
  • Sugar: 4g

Recipe

25. Vegan Tex Mex Quinoa

Vegan Tex Mex Quinoa

Credit: profusioncurry.com

Do you have some leftover quinoa on hand? Use it up in this Vegan Tex Mex Quinoa.

It’s flavorful, colorful, and, dare I say, beautiful? Looking at it just puts a smile on your face.

But what’s even better? Eating it.

You’ve got sweetness from the corn and heat from the jalapeno peppers. And the red bell peppers and red cabbage add the perfect crunch.

This is complemented by the creamy black ban and avocado.

Besides being yummy, quinoa is great for you too. It contains lots of fiber.

And it’s rich in plant-based protein. It even contains minerals like iron and magnesium.

What’s more, quinoa is gluten-free too. If you’d like to stock up on some, you can get some quinoa here.

Per Serving:

  • Calories: 290
  • Fats: 14g
  • Protein: 8g
  • Carbs: 37g
  • Fiber: 8g
  • Sugar: 5g

Recipe

26. Chicken Burrito Bowls

Chicken Burrito Bowls

Credit: cleananddelicious.com

Craving Chipotles? Have these Chicken Burrito Bowls instead.

They’re piled high with Mexican flavors. You’ve got sweet corn, tangy cilantro-lime rice, black beans, and of course, the taco-seasoned ground chicken.

The chipotle sauce adds a nice kick that is offset by the Greek yogurt. Okay, it’s pretty much Mexican – except for the Greek yogurt😊.

However, you can sub avocados for Greek yogurt instead.

Per Serving:

  • Calories: 517
  • Fats: 17g
  • Protein: 42g
  • Carbs: 57g
  • Fiber: 15g
  • Sugar: 8g

Recipe

27. Instant Pot Vegan Stuffed Pepper Soup

Instant Pot Vegan Stuffed Pepper Soup

Credit: profusioncurry.com

Want to enjoy stuffed peppers – without all of the work? Then give this Instant Pot Vegan Stuffed Pepper Soup a try.

You’ve got all the deliciousness of stuffed peppers – but in the form of a soup. Yum!

And you can’t have stuffed pepper, ahem soup, without cheese, right?

Simply add Parmesan cheese on top. Or, to keep it vegan, sprinkle some nutritional yeast.

Per Serving:

  • Calories: 157
  • Fats: 4g
  • Protein: 7g
  • Carbs: 26g
  • Fiber: 6g
  • Sugar: 6g

Recipe